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Article Marketing Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation Video Marketing

My Top Internet Marketing Tools

I’ve written a LOT of tools over the years but the ones I use day in and day out are the following (and you’ll notice these are all aimed at creating and promoting products):

Article Architect – While I don’t do tons of article marketing anymore (I do it, but it’s very focused — no more shotgun approach for me) I create content all the time, and I still do most of my writing in AA. It’s one place where I can find all my content and then auto-post it to my WordPress blog or export and upload as an HTML web page.

Sonic Sneak – I’ve been cloaking and tracking my links for years and it’s probably the single best task I’ve ever done. At any time I can look at my dashboard and see which sources are bringing me the traffic. Is it a post on my blog? An article? A forum message? With Sonic Sneak behind the scenes I never have to guess about that, I simply know.

Instant Video Web Pages – Web video is a proven workhorse, whether you’re using it to promote a product, show someone how to use some software, or giving people a glimpse at how clever your cat can be. And since we should make use of it, I created IVWP to make it brain-dead simple to not just put up a video, but put up a complete video web page. Fill in the blanks, choose a template, and boom, it just works.

Product Creation Station – Finally, while I don’t “use” this actual product on a daily basis, the ideas and knowledge that went into creation of this course is what I use to create all the products I crank out. If you want a comprehensive course on info product creation, delivered on a weekly basis, PCS is perfect for you.

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Article Marketing Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation

Article Marketing Explained for Kindle

If there’s one thing I’ve preached in the years I’ve been doing internet marketing it’s to reuse and repurpose the content you create. I’m not a big fan of using PLR materials for much when it’s really pretty easy to create your own content.

And once you have that original, unique content, you can put it to use in many different ways.

Here’s a perfect example:

Article Marketing Explained on Amazon

Click that link and you’ll be taken to amazon.com where you’ll see a new ebook on article marketing. While some material is new, the bulk of it was created with content I wrote a year or two ago for a different project (membership web site).

Over the weekend I pulled together the materials, wrote some “glue” content to pull things together, and submitted it to the Kindle book store. Today it’s available.

And honestly, I didn’t know what a thrill it would be to see my name and ebook on amazon.com until I opened the page in my browser. 🙂

I have no idea how sales will be, but the point is that I did most of the work previously and used the content for one project (or more), and now for this project that I can just set and forget. Amazon handles all the sales, order-fulfillment, etc., so I can turn my attention to other projects.

Actually, one of my next projects is to take the same content and either turn it into an ebook app for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, or get it into the Apple iBooks store.

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Article Marketing

Top 3 Differences Between Writing Articles and Article Marketing

Lately I’ve been hanging out with a bunch of writers and while I do consider myself a writer, for the most part I write as a way to promote the internet marketing products I create. That’s the core of article marketing, after all.

Those other folks, though, write because they’re writers. And while they also get paid (usually) for their writing, marketing is not what they’re thinking of. How can writing an article for payment be different than writing an article for marketing?

Here are the top three differences:

1. The purpose of the article. While both kinds of articles should give good value to the reader, an article written for non-marketing purposes will stop there. No further action is expected from the reader after finishing the article.

But in article marketing there needs to be a strong call-to-action at the end of the article. Remember the old show-business adage, always leave them wanting more? Your article should whet their appetite and the resource box at the end of the article should promise them more information, all they have to do is click the link.

That call-to-action is what changes the article from straight information to a direct-response marketing article.

2. Where the article is published. Most article writers are trying to get published in offline magazines, most article marketers are trying to get published online. There is a lot of overlap and even today there are online-only magazines that article writers target, but in general there’s a pretty apparent split between the two.

3. How often the article is published. For “real” writers this one is simple — when your article is sold you forget about it and start working on another article. In many cases the article is published one time and that’s it.

For article marketing purposes, your article is going to be published online as many times as you can. While there are some online article directories that require exclusivity, most article marketers steer clear of those. The majority of the directories like exclusive articles, but don’t require it. That means most articles for marketing are going to end up posted on the author’s blog, in the major article directories, in as many ezines and newsletters as the author can make deals for, etc.

The more people who see the article, the more chances of making a sale when the reader clicks the link in the resource box at the end.

If you’re a writer and you’ve never thought about using your talents for marketing purposes, you might want to look into it. You already have the skills, all you need is a direction to get yourself started.

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Article Marketing

Why Article Marketing Will Never Disappear

In my work with article marketing I solicit questions from people who want the free, prequalified, targeted traffic from writing simple little articles, and one question keeps coming up time after time:

Q. Does article marketing still work?

Sometimes the writers are wondering about backlinks, or search engine optimization techniques, or any of the other tactics for which they’re using articles, but it all boils down to the question of whether it still works…

…and whether it will continue to work in the future.

Here’s Why Article Marketing Will Always Work

The simple answer is that getting free traffic from articles happens for many different reasons, and there’s no way every one of those reasons will vanish.

For example, the search engine aspect — even if every search engine in the world vanished overnight there are still many ways you can use articles to drive traffic to your sites.

Even if the search engines stopped indexing links in articles, so the use of backlinks ceased to work, there are still many ways to drive the user to your web site.

The only way article marketing will stop working is if people stop reading — and that’s never going to happen. A lot of reading has switched from physical books, magazines, and newspapers to the digital versions, and articles used to promote products or service have switched right along with them.

Just to get your thinker working, let me give you three ways to use articles for marketing on the internet that don’t rely on search engines in the slightest.

1. Become A White Knight – In general, you help people who write ezines/newsletters, blogs, etc., come up with new content for their readers, so they win, and you win because your resource box is exposed to a new audience.

2. Long Term Sales On Autopilot – Use your articles as a “passive sales pitch” in a series of autoresponder messages. Once people join your mailing list, start sending them sales messages in the form of articles (that also give them great information).

3. Automatic Special Reports – Combine several articles on the same topic together and publish as a PDF file. You now have a “special report” that can be given away as an incentive to join your mailing list, or even sold as a stand-alone product.

I’ve written entire articles on those techniques, so look them up if you’re interested in all the details.

No matter how you slice it, article marketing has been around for decades and will be around for decades to come, driving free traffic to our web sites.

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Article Marketing

Types of Article Marketing — Writing An Interview Article

Writing an article to promote a product or service is often as simple as sitting down and writing a review about what you’re pitching. But in order to give your readers a little different take on things, try writing an interview article.

An interview article is one where you talk to someone about the product or service, ask them questions, and then write the article based on their answers.

One of the big advantages of this type of article is that you don’t have to be an expert on the subject — you just have to find someone who is. In essence, you’re piggy-backing on someone else’s knowledge. For normal article writing I recommend that you stick with subjects about which you have some personal knowledge. Otherwise you’re doing a disservice to your readers by giving them information that’s wrong or very shallow.

The interview article is the exception to that rule — and it opens up so many markets that you might be shut out of otherwise.

You might be thinking it’s hard to find an expert, but you don’t have to go to the top of the pile — if you’re doing articles on golf you don’t have to interview Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh. (Of course, if you have the opportunity, go for it!)

Instead, the golf pro at the local course or country club knows more about golf than most people — and someone like that is very approachable. Offer them lunch or a drink and that’s probably all it will take.

Hint: If you take lessons from someone like that they’re MUCH more likely to agree to an interview!

Here’s one of the coolest things about doing an interview article — when you interview someone you’re not going to ask them one question and be done — you’re going to quiz them for as long as you’re able. Which means you’re going to end up with enough raw content for several articles, not just one.

When you do get ready to write the article you’ll have to decide whether to write it as a Q&A (Question and Answer) piece or as a “regular” article. If you don’t do it as a Q&A piece I’d still suggest mentioning the informatiom came from a conversation with John Doe, Golf Pro at the XYZ Club. That will add credibility to the article.

No matter whether you’re interviewing a local dog trainer, an organic gardener, or a competitive martial artist, writing an interview article is a great way to get free traffic in a niche where you’re merely an observer.

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Article Marketing

Article Marketing on Steroids – Profiting From Special Reports

If you’re using article marketing to drive free traffic to your web site you’re probably very close to having your own digital product you can sell online.

What kind of product? Special reports that are about 7-15 pages in size. Small enough to be put together more quickly than you might think, but large enough to create value that people will pay for. If you have 10-12 articles written on a specific topic you can easily put them together and have a special report done in no time.

Easily Creating Your Reports

A typical article is probably about a page in length. The easiest way to create a report is to gather 7-15 articles that are similar in topic and put them together — voila, you have a report!

Of course, sometimes it’s good to have a section of the report that’s longer than a page — and you also want to make sure the report doesn’t “feel” disjointed. So look for a couple articles that fit together especially well and tweak the end of one and the beginning of the next to turn them into one longer article.

In fact, if you take a little time and do that with each article, you’ll end up with a much better report — one that flows rather than jumps around.

Making Money Using Free Reports

This is similar to article marketing in that you give some information on how to solve a problem and then promote a product that can make the process faster and/or easier.

Where it differs from article marketing is in the promotion of the product. Articles that are submitted to directories usually have to have a rather passive pitch or they’ll be rejected. But in a report that you are going to distribute you can be as blatant as you want.

Just remember, if you’re all pitch and no info you won’t be making a very good impression on the reader. Be sure you balance the info with the pitch.

Although there’s not a hard-and-fast rule, special reports that you give away usually contain more affiliate links than a report that you sell. The paid reports also usually contain more hard-core information.

Making Money Selling Reports

Probably the most basic way to make money with a report is to put up a sales page and a PayPal button. If the info product is decent you’ll make some sales — maybe a lot of sales. And you can use articles or free reports to drive traffic to that sales letter.

You can also use the report as a “foundation” for a larger info product — add some screencast videos, some interviews, checklists, etc., and you have the makings of a full-blown information product that could be promoted with affiliates, joint ventures, etc.

Building Your List With Reports

This one is for the person who’s more patient, who sees the big picture, or who isn’t desperate for money right this minute.

Saying “Pretty please!” just isn’t enough these days to get people to join your list — you need to give them a solid reason to give up their email address. A special report written to solve a problem they have is a great enticement.

Building a larger list of prospects is something that should always be “front of mind” and the reports you put together can be instrumental in helping to build that list.

There you go — three solid ways you can use small reports to make money and build your list. And just think, it all started with writing simple little articles!

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Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #10: Resurrecting Your Articles

While an article used to promote your product or service might be just a bunch of words, it also has a life beyond what most people think. In this 10th and final article in the series of making article marketing pay off for you, let’s talk about Resurrecting Your Articles, or breathing new life into them.

There are many ways article marketing can work for you, but the most popular first step is to submit them to online article directories for two main reasons:

1. To create links that lead back to your web site.

2. To allow ezine and web site publishers to syndicate your content on their sites.

Which, in turn, brings reason #1 back into play — the more people who can see your article, the more traffic you’re going to get.

As you can see, submitting to article directories really make a lot of sense, but too many article marketers stop at that point and don’t reap the whole benefits of writing an article. So let’s look at 5 great ways you can reuse one of your articles in order to bring in even more sales.

1. Sales on Autopilot. Article #2 in this series covers this step in detail, so look that up if you want more, but in a nutshell, put your articles online as a single webpage and then have it lead into a pitch for your product or service. Now, add a follow-up message to your autoresponder series pointing to that web page. The people on your list will get good content, and you get another way to try and make the sale.

2. Blog Content. Most article directories don’t require exclusive content so you’re free to publish your article on your own blog even after submitting it. And while doing a 2- or 3-part article is frowned on by some of the major article directories, on your blog it’s perfectly fine. If you have a longer article consider breaking it up to make it last longer.

3. Special Reports and Ebooks. By combining like articles together and publishing as PDF you have a no-brainer way to create your own whitepapers and special reports. Those can be sold or given away as a bonus for people who join your list, etc.

And by putting several of those special reports together you can easily create an ebook that can then be sold. If you’re interested in this tactic, article #3 in this series goes into more detail.

4. Podcast Material. If you have a microphone on your computer you can easily create content for a podcast by simply reading your article as you record it. If you don’t have a podcast, you can still record your articles and then offer that audio content to others who have podcasts. It works the same way as people with websites republishing your content, except this content is an audio version of the article. Yes, complete with your offer and a link at the end.

5. Video Article. I know I’ll lose some people just at the heading (“You lost me at video!”) but creating a video article is super easy and doesn’t require that you look fabulous or have professional equipment. If you created an audio version of your article in step 4 above, you’re more than halfway done.

Now all that’s required is to create a slideshow using Keynote or PowerPoint with key phrases from the article on the slides. Now play the audio and flip through the slideshow while recording the screen using something like ScreenFlow or Camtasia.

Sure, the first one you do might take a weekend of tinkering, but by the time you hit the third or fourth one you should be cranking them out in about 30 minutes.

There you go, five more ways in which you can resurrect your articles and gain more traffic. Submitting to directories is a great idea, but don’t get stuck thinking that’s all you should do — the more you can reuse and repurpose your articles the more sales you’re going to make.

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Article Marketing

Article Marketing Tricks #9: Don’t Let Them Escape!

Article marketing is pretty easy to explain — you write simple little articles about a topic and then give people a link at the end of the article where they can get more information. That link takes them to a web site where they can then find out about a product and buy it if they desire.

It really is that simple, although there are easy tricks you can pick up after getting some experience under your belt that will give you better results — I’m going to try and help you take a shortcut and explain one of those tricks in this article.

This is the 9th article in the series of tricks that can help you make article marketing pay off and I call this one, “Don’t Let Them Escape!”

I’m not talking about an online version of “Hotel California, where you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave” — while this is a little less dramatic, it can make a big difference in your online business.

I’m talking about that standard marketing tactic, list building.

A lot of article marketers don’t want to think of that aspect of ecommerce — they just want to write articles and send the traffic to a sales page. But let me give you what I think is the most compelling reason to take the time and build a list of people who are interested in your topic.

Looking At The Conversion Rate

Every sales letter has what’s referred to as a conversion rate. That’s the ratio of people who see the sales letter versus the people who buy the product. It’s usually described as a percentage — for example, a sales letter that makes 3 sales for every 100 visitors would have a 3% conversion rate. A conversion rate of 3%-4% is considered very good in the online world.

Here’s the only problem with that — there are many more people who don’t buy than do, and if a prospect leaves your web site without a trace, there’s no way you can follow up with them.

Which means there’s no way to make the sale.

If, however, you offer them something of value in return for joining your list, you are now in a position for two things to happen…

1. As you continue to send good content about the topic to the people on your list, a relationship of sorts is built and your credibility as an expert is increased.

2. You can continue to promote your product or service over time. It’s been shown that people usually need 7-8 “promos” before they’re ready to buy. People who see your web site once and leave don’t get that repeated exposure.

Building A List Is Not Rocket Science

There are a couple things you’re going to need in order to build a list…

While an autoresponder isn’t technically required to start building a list, manually mailing out emails to a growing group of people isn’t something you can do and retain your sanity. Plus, creating “systems” for your business is the only way to get the entire process automated so you can make sales without managing every aspect of it.

The other thing you’re going to need is an “ethical bribe” — something of value to give the prospect in exchange for their email address. This can be a whitepaper or special report, an exclusive piece of software, etc. It should be something directly related to your niche.

Don’t let them escape because you may never get another shot at making the sale. Start building your list now and as it grows over time you’ll find sales of your product or service growing along with it.

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Article Marketing

How to (Finally) Start Writing an Article

I’ve written a lot of information about article marketing, but I seem to have skipped over something that’s very important to some people…

…how do you actually start writing?

I’ve been writing enough now that the question almost doesn’t make sense to me — after all, you just start writing (typing), don’t you?

But the more I thought about it, the more important the question became, because I imagine there are a LOT of people who’d love to get free, targeted, pre-qualified traffic to their web site using simple little articles, but the act of getting started is holding them back.

So I’m going to attempt to lay it out in such a manner that anyone should be able to get started writing an article.

You’ve probably heard this in regards to how someone should give a speech:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them.
2. Tell them.
3. Tell them what you told them.

In other words, set up the learning environment by giving them a preview of what’s coming. Then explain whatever it is you’re trying to teach. And end up by recapping what you just taught them. That same series of steps can be used to write an article.

Let me give you an example.

I’m not a cook but I could pretty easily find out the steps needed to cook a steak. If I wanted to write an article telling people how to do that, I could start like this:

3 Easy Steps to Cooking a Great Steak

“Most people like steak and so I’m going to teach you how to cook one in 3 easy steps.”

That could be considered the opening, or telling them what I’m going to be telling them.

Then I’d put in three steps, such as:

1. The best type of meat to use.

2. Spices and preparing the steak.

3. The cooking process.

For each one of those I’d type up a paragraph explaining the step. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just plain language is good enough.

And finally, I’d end the article with a summary, that could be something like:

“As long as you follow those 3 easy steps, you shouldn’t have any problems. Try it for yourself the next time you have company.”

Believe it or not, that’s ALL you need to do to write an article.

But let’s bump it up just a little bit.

My opening paragraph above is very short. I wrote it that way on purpose, just to show you that flowery language and lots of words aren’t required. However, if you can string a sentence or two together, don’t hold back. I’d probably use something like this for a real article on how to cook a steak…

“There’s nothing like the smell of a steak cooking on the grill. And when a steak is set down in front of you and your mouth starts watering, nobody better get in your way!

But a juicy steak doesn’t just happen. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can end up with a steak that’s dry and tough. Not only are you out the money that steak cost, but if it happens at a party you’re hosting you’ll never hear the end of it!

The good news is that cooking a good steak isn’t rocket science, and I’m going to show you three easy steps that are designed to make the process simple and the outcome guaranteed.”

There are two important things to notice about this new introduction:

1. I tried to use some of the senses in talking about the taste and smell — that can help the reader really get into the article.

2. There are a lot more words in the second example.

You don’t want to pad an article just to increase the word count, but a better article is often a little plump — not just skin and bones (facts and figures).

If all you can manage right now is something like the first example, go for it! A skinny article is better than no article, any day.

And the more you write, the better at it you will get. Seriously — there are some things that just naturally increase as you do it more and more and writing is one of those skills. Give it a shot and see what you can come up with — you don’t have to be Hemingway on your first try (or even your 100th try).

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Article Marketing

Upcoming Feature (and one Vanishes)

If you downloaded v2.8.x of Article Architect you may have noticed a new feature called Article Popper. You probably also noticed no instructions on how to use it. That’s because it’s an upcoming feature I’ve been working on and when I released that version I forgot to re-hide it.

It’s a feature that’s not ready for prime time. =:) So in the next version it vanishes but will probably appear in an upcoming version later this year.

What IS going to be in version 2.9.0 is a feature called SR (Search & Replace) Tokens and I’m finding it a tremendous time-saver for my own work — I hope you do, too.

In general, it allows you to write an article and insert “tokens” that will be replaced on-the-fly when you submit an article to a directory, export it, publish to blog, etc.

What’s it good for?

Let’s say you use your real name when submitting to one directory but a pen name when submitting to another. In the article you write instead of putting your name, you’d put in a token, such as ~name. It could be anything you find handy, maybe %name% or something.

Then you specify whenever you’re submitting to Directory A and it sees those characters, it replaces with Bob Smith. When submitting to Directory B and those characters appear, it replaces with John Jones. You no longer have to “tweak” the article for each specific directory.

I use it mainly for the tracking codes I use in the resource box links — I want to know how much traffic comes from the articles I submit to EzineArticles vs GoArticles vs iSnare, for example. In the past I’d have to change each tracking code as I submitted the article — now I have a different SR Token set up for each directory and when it sees ~track it knows to change that to the tracking code for that directory.

Another Handy Use

It’s also handy for shortcuts. Right now I’m writing a series of articles on “cowboy action shooting” and those three words show up time after time. I now have an SR Token of ~cas that “expands” to those three words when I publish or submit the article.

Note: If you do that, realize the word count for the article may be off a little if your token is a different number of words than the replacement text.

SR Tokens is the main new feature of version 2.9.0 — and while it may not be earth-shattering in nature, it’s a really handy feature for people who are heavily into article marketing.

Version 2.9.0 should be available at some point tomorrow (January 14).